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Legal Brief:

Doe v. Withers
Liability within the Educational System

EDED 6312
School Law
Dr. Jones
Dallas Baptist University
Spring 2012

Name of Case: Doe v. Withers
Civil Action Number: 92-C-92
Subject: Liability

The Facts:
This civil court case takes place in a West Virginia school system located in Taylor County, when a general education high school history teacher failed to follow an IEP for Douglas Devart. During the case Devart and his parents Robert and Virginia ended up using aliases by the names of John Doe, Jane Doe and son D.D. Doe as a deterrent from the public so the family would not endure any additional embarrassment, slander, and/or liable regarding the son’s handicap. The defendants of this case were D.D.’s history teacher Michael Withers, Principal Greg Cartwright, Superintendent Wendell Teets and the Taylor County Board of Education. The following is a sequence of events that happened in chronological order that led up to the trial. Plaintiff D. D. was diagnosed as having a learning disability in the fourth grade while attending Anna Jarvis School in Taylor County. At that time he had been put on an Individual Educational Program (a.k.a. IEP) designed to accommodate his learning disability as required by Public Law 94-142 and implementing federal regulations, 34 C.F.R. 300.130 and implementing State Policy No. 2419, Section 1.3, 1.4 and 2.11, because of his learning disability D.D.’s educational program was adapted to provide oral testing by a learning disabilities teacher in a learning disabilities resource classroom. This accommodation was regularly provided at Anna Jarvis School and Grafton Middle School.

When the Plaintiff, D. D., entered Grafton High School it was shown that he received low grades in most subjects during the first quarter of his freshman year concerned of their sons low performance D.D.’s parents scheduled meetings with all of his teachers to discuss their son’s IEP and to make sure his needs were being met. After meeting with D.D.’s parents all teachers except Michael Withers agreed to comply with the oral testing accommodation. After this meeting and as time passed the defendant, Michael Withers, still refused to comply with the plaintiffs, D.D., IEP. Later in the semester D.D. delivered a note from the special education coordinator at Grafton High School directing that Mr. Withers, “must have the Plaintiff tested orally by the learning disabilities teacher in the learning disability resource room.” Mr. Withers still refused to comply and ended up administer approximately nine (9) more written tests to D. D., most of which he failed because of his handicap. There are multiple occasions during history class that Mr. Withers insulted and belittled D. D. openly to other students causing him to become extremely embarrassed and angry. Around mid-November, after grade reports were sent home to D.D.’s parents, the parents attempted to meet again with Michael Withers. No meeting ever occurred due to the defendant being out of town hunting.

As a direct and immediate result of the negligence and/or undeviating denial of D.D.’s IEP, D.D. failed his history course during the fall school semester. He received zero credits on his permanent school record which forced D.D. to participate in any extracurricular activities. In early spring Mr. Withers left Grafton High on a leave of absence, once he was replaced by a permanent substitute teacher D.D.’s IEP was promptly followed. As a result of being properly evaluated during the second semester, D.D.’s improved in history to passing.

A grievance was filed against Michael Withers, regarding his acts towards D. D. The Taylor County Board of Education was required to administer a comprehensive examination which prepared the student for an entire semester’s examination and testing. This re-preparation and re-testing along with receiving no credits force D.D. to feel shame and embarrassment within the school...
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